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42 43 The literature surrounding the secretive and magical art of Alchemy is rich with dragons, where they assist in the physical and psychological chemistry lessons and appear in different ways for various hidden purposes The dragon slays itself, weds itself, impregnates itself. The most famous of all alchemical dragons is the Ouroboros, the great serpent devouring itself, as depicted romantically on the front of this book, and reminding the student that All is One and that the universe undergoes periodic cycles of destruction and creation. Winged dragons in alchemy generally represent the mercurial volatile elements, i.e. substances in the vessel which can evaporate, while wingless dragons signify fixed ones, although many alchemists regard all dragons as representing Mercury, the spirit, or life force. Dragons sometimes fight, where they illustrate psychic disorder or the conflict between unrefined Sulphur soul and Mercury spirit. The twoheaded amphisbaena page 36 becomes, in alchemy, the caduceus below, left and right, the winged rod with two serpents twined about it carried by youthful Hermes and symbolising the harmonious intertwining marriage of opposites which is the alchemists objective. In alchemical symbolism, it is only by the killing of the dragon that the transmutation of the Prima Materia can take place and so produce Luna, the White Queen or unicorn, the virgin divinity in nature. dragons In alchemY Top Sol and Luna overcoming their unrefined natures. Below A man sleeps in his grave encoiled by the Universal Soul. From Michael Maier Atlanta Fugiens De Secretis Naturae Chymica 1617. 43
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